Cambridge, Mass.-based musician Keith Fullerton Whitman, aka Hrvatski, occasionally posts MP3 files of outakes and works-in-progress on his reckankomplex.com website. The current item is what he calls “a completely alternate demo version” of “You Didn’t Look High Enough,” the original of which appeared on his 1999 collection, Oiseaux 96-98, due for re-release in an expanded edition on February 3, 2004 (he promises to pack it with extra material in MP3 format). Whitman describes this archival find as “replete with a zany dub breakdown & some dope ‘sound of ’96’ minimal amen-grunkerie, albeit scarred from nasty digital distortions (which we feel add to the experience). in one word: dope,” all packed into little more than four minutes. In other words, it’s a heavily constructed track, with familiar elements — the dub and the mid-’90s jungle percussion, for example — that are spliced together in a manner that draws attention to how distinct they are from one another. The dub is deep and earthy, the percussion erratic and mechanistic, and while either sound might be a tad dated, Whitman’s ear for keen edits, tribal momentum and spacious pauses is completely fresh. In the best meaning of the phrase, it’s a true kitchen-sink marvel, with what sounds like typewriter percussion preceding the more common, but still inventively cadenced, drum machine. Check out his home page, or access the file directly. (And read a past Disquiet.com interview with him here: “Army of One.”)
Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media
• December 13, 2021: This day marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of Disquiet.com.
• December 28, 2021: This day marks the 10th anniversary of the Instagr/am/bient compilation.
• January 6, 2021: This day marks the 10th anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
• July 28, 2021: This day marked the 500th consecutive weekly project in the Disquiet Junto music community.
• There are entries on the Disquiet Junto in the book The Music Production Cookbook: Ready-made Recipes for the Classroom (Oxford University Press), edited by Adam Patrick Bell. Ethan Hein wrote one, and I did, too.
• A chapter on the Disquiet Junto ("The Disquiet Junto as an Online Community of Practice," by Ethan Hein) appears in the book The Oxford Handbook of Social Media and Music Learning (Oxford University Press), edited by Stephanie Horsley, Janice Waldron, and Kari Veblen. (Details at oup.com.)
• The Disquiet Junto series of weekly communal music projects explore constraints as a springboard for creativity and productivity. There is a new project each Thursday afternoon (California time), and it is due the following Monday at 11:59pm: disquiet.com/junto.
• My book on Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, was published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury. It has been translated into Japanese (2019) and Spanish (2018).
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Since January 2012, the Disquiet Junto has been an ongoing weekly collaborative music-making community that employs creative constraints as a springboard for creativity. Subscribe to the announcement list (each Thursday), listen to tracks by participants from around the world, read the FAQ, and join in.
• 0506 / Wipe Out / The Assignment: Take something whole and erase half of it.
• 0505 / Line Out / The Assignment: Share a track, get feedback, and give feedback.
• 0504 / Transform Formula / The Assignment: Take a sound, change it, and contrast that with the original.
• 0503 / Sing Song / The Assignment: Record a song using only your voice transformed beyond recognition.
• 0502 / Global Swarming / The Assignment: Create a swarm of imaginary insects.
And there is a complete list of past projects, 506 consecutive weeks to date.
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